The Saab Gripen NG demonstrator arrives at Farnborough today on the second leg of its international public debut, having spent the weekend at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford (seen in this photo). The Swedish government, which owns the aircraft, granted permission for its trip to the UK only on Thursday.
Royal International Air Tattoo
This columnist never did discover why the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor that displayed at this month’s Farnborough airshow, needed an escort from an F-15 fighter. The top-of-the-line stealth fighter flew from RAF Fairford, only 50 miles away, where it was due to make its international debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
A unique formation wowed the crowd at the recent Joint Services Open House at Andrews AFB in Maryland. A Second World War P-51 Mustang led a 1960s-vintage F-4 Phantom, 1990s-built F-15E Strike Eagle and a brand-new F-22A Raptor Stealth Fighter. The event also featured an F-22 solo display that has been enhanced from last year with new post-stall and thrust-vectoring maneuvers. The F-22 is flying at airshows in the U.S.
The Lockheed Martin/U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighter will be crossing the Atlantic for the first time in July, heading for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in the UK. The aircraft will display three times at this show, but only on the opening Monday of the Farnborough Air Show that follows later that month. It will then return to the U.S.
The number of trade days at the next Farnborough International Air Show (July 18 to 23, 2006) has been reduced from five to four. Instead of starting on Monday, as it has in the past, the event will run from Tuesday through Sunday, and the first four days will be reserved for professional visitors, while the weekend will continue to be set aside for the public. There is no officially designated media day.
The times, they are a changing. Years ago, during the heyday of new product introductions within a few years of each other and a plethora of international aerospace manufacturers, airshow exhibitors tripped over each other trying to outdo the competition.
Back in 2004, the Farnborough International show opened against a backdrop of uncertainty about its future organization with doubts over how the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) proceeds with an event that it has hosted since 1948. Two years on, these doubts have been laid to rest and today the FI2006 show opens with a new streamlined structure, a visibly improved site and a truly abundant harvest of Grade A exhibits.
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